DORSET Leopards battled hard against a strong Gloucestershire Academy side but narrowly lost out by two wickets in their final fixture of the season.

Gloucester featured a number of England youth players and professionals, most high-profile of which was Miles Hammond, who has represented England Under-19s.

The Leopards featured a number of Dorset League players, with Martinstown’s Ed Nichols, Dorchester’s Simon Mitchem and Portland Red Triangle’s Simon Proffitt all impressing.

Upon winning the toss, Leopards’ skipper Nichols elected to bat and Dorset lost Dominic Clutterbuck (7) and Tom Robinson (7) early on to Brendon Gilmour (2-30) as they reached 35-2.

Simon Woodruff (12) and Josh McCoy (0) were next to go as Gloucestershire turned the screw.

But opener Nichols (60) was in fine form and reached his half-century before perishing to Dominic Hooper (1-19), with only Proffitt (11) and Jem Warner (13) making double figures thereafter as the Leopards closed on 175 all out, aided by 43 extras.

Gloucester attacked hard in reply, with former England Under-17 star Jordan Garrett racing to 45, and Joe Dryell (36) accompanying him in a quick start.

Both were removed by Warner (5-47), who made deep inroads into the hosts’ middle order.

Hammond (20) and George Pritchard (19no) were the other main contributors as Gloucestershire held on despite a late brace for Simon Woodruff (2-24).

Speaking to Echosport after the game, Nichols was pleased his side fought back to create a “tense finish” after Gloucestershire’s powerful start with the bat.

He said: “We consistently lost wickets and there weren’t any regular partnerships so we couldn’t force their hand.

“When the spinners came on we struggled and they got a good grip on the game, but 175 was okay.

“They came out and went hard at the ball and got off to a good start. Jem Warner bowled really well and it was a tense finish.”

Commenting on the exploits of Mitchem and Proffitt, who returned figures of 0-22 and 0-10 respectively, Nichols was impressed by both men.

He said: “Simon Mitchem has had a really good season with the ball. The opportunity was there to take and he did a decent job.

“Simon Proffitt had a huge opportunity and bowled in great areas. It’s nice to know that you’re not going to be ignored even if you’re in Division Two.”


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